House of Commons, 3 May 1876, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan



Mr. WATSON asked, What amount of lands retained by the Dominion Government as provided for in 49 Victoria, chapter 9, is situated within the Province of Manitoba? Also, what amount of said lands have been retained west of the boundary of the Province of Manitoba and east of 3rd Meridian?
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. The negotiations with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for the defining of the lands which are to be retained under the Act mentioned have been proceeding, and they will be completed as soon as possible after the passing of the resolution respecting the company's land grant now before Parliament.
Mr. WATSON asked, 1. Whether the Canadian Pacific Railway Company has made a selection of all lands granted to it under clause 11 of Canadian Pacific Railway contract? 2. What amount of said lands have been selected within the boundary of the Province of Manitoba? 3. What amount of said lands have been selected between the western boundary of the Province of Manitoba and 3rd Meridian?
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. 1. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company have selected nearly 7,000,000 acres of the lands granted under clause 11 of the Canadian Pacific Railway contract. 2. The area of lands selected within the boundaries of Manitoba is, in acres 1,818,330. 3. The area of lands selected between the western boundary of Manitoba and the 3rd Initial Meridian is, in acres, 2,989,440.
Mr. LAURIER asked, 1. What number of acres is there of unsold lands which the Canadian Pacific Railway Company prepose to receive by deed of bargain and sale to trustees under sub-section c of the Resolutions now before the House? 2 . What portions of such lands lie within the Railway Belt? 3. How many acres of those lands are there in Manitoba, and how many in the Territories, east ofthe 3rd Meridian? 4. How many acres have been sold by the company, paid for, and the deeds completed? 5. How many acres have been sold, but the sales are still incomplete? How much paid on the same, and how much remains due, and when and how payable?
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. I am able to answer one of these questions, but not the whole satisfactorily, as the information must be obtained from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. I have asked the company to provide the information and I expect it any moment.
Mr. LAURIER. Perhaps you will answer the questions to-morrow.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. If you please.


Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD moved that the House resolve itself into Committee, to-morrow, to consider the following resolution :—
That it is expedient to provide that there shall be payable, in respect of his attendance at each Session of the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories, to each elected member thereof, an indemnity of $500, and to each legal expert, for the like attendance, an indemnity of $250, in addition in each case to his actual travelling expenses, subject to a proportionate reduction for each day's absence from a sitting of the Assembly, the amount of such reduction and of such travelling expenses to be ascertained in such manner as the Governor in Council prescribes; that there shall be payable to the Speaker of the said Legislative Assembly an annual salary of $500, and to the Clerk of the said Assembly acting also as Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, an annual salary of $2,000; and that all such payments shall be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). This, of course, relates to the House of Assembly in the North-West Territory. I would ask the hon. gentleman whether he has considered the propriety of placing at the disposal of the Governor and Legislature of the North-West Territory the same grant as that which the Provinces receive in proportion to their population; leaving to them to appoint their own clerk, regulate their own affairs, and to spend the money so given, in the way that they think best in the public service. The hon. gentleman knows at the present time that this assembly has really no funds with which to carry on the business of legislation, except such as the Government here may place at its disposal. If there was an account opened with the Territory, the moment a Legislature is established and money placed at their disposal, when they come to be admitted as a Province of course the whole sum so received by that means could be taken into consideration. It always seemed to me, that that would be the rational way to deal With them whenever they had a legislative assembly. I would like to know whether the hon. gentleman has considered the subject, and whether he proposes to invite parliamentary action in the matter? It will be perceived that it would be a little more reasonable, in conferring on them the power of legislation and representation, that they should have funds with which to carry on their operations.
Sir JOHN A. MACDONALD. This discussion will arise more properly on the second reading of the Bill. I will say to my hon. friend that we do not propose to put in any such vote for this year. The territories are not quite without revenue, as the hon. gentleman knows, and I have no doubt they dispose of that revenue to the best advantage of the territories. Those revenues are very small, certainly, and I am quite ready to admit the merits of the suggestion of the hon. gentleman. The idea is to make as little change as possible until they have a purely elective assembly representing the people. They will be obliged, after the elections, to meet very soon, and to consider what the wants of the country and what administrative action here they think would be most satisfactory for that country. The measure before the House is intended merely to carry out the principle, with all due respect to their suggestions for the future. From time to time we have had a series of resolutions passed by the mingled council, in which parties were nominated and parties elected. Those are contradictory in themselves and cannot be supposed really to represent the feelings of the people. We propose to make no appropriation of a sum to be disposed of by the Governor there, including the Legislature, until they have really a Local Legislature and ascertain what their own ideas are on the subject.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). Of course I do not propose to enter into a discussion, and I am making only a suggestion now. These people are contributing their proportion to the taxes of the country at the present time. In all the 1888. COMMONS DEBATES. 1175 Provinces a certain portion of the revenue, so much per capita, is paid over to the Provinces as provincial revenue for provincial purposes. My remarks had reference to the intention of the Government when the hon. gentleman's Bill is adopted, and the Legislature made completely elective. It does not seem to me, and I do not say it with a view to provoking controversy, that it is not a matter of negotiation to know how much they are entitled to. As a matter of right they should be entitled to the same amount per capita, revenue for local purposes, as in the Provinces, and which should be accounted for at the time of Union.
Motion agreed to.


House resolved itself into Committee on Bill (No. 24) to amend and consolidate the Railway Act.
(In the Committee.) On section 2, sub-section p,
Mr. MULOCK. This clause, defining the word "near," refers to the proximity of one railway to another. Would it not be advisable to define the word with reference to some point as well? In Acts of incorporation the word "near" is used to define the route taken; but I do not know how any court could determine whether any railway was exceeding its powers when it is authorized to go to or near a point. In this vast continent that might mean many miles away. While I do not wish to embarrass any company, I think it would be well to give some statutory definition of the word "near" under such circumstances.
Mr. TISDALE. It is easy to define the word, having regard to the relation of one railway to another; but if we try to define it in relation to the routes of railroads, it seems to me we should defeat the object the hon. gentleman has in view, because "at or near " any point, describing a route, will depend on all the circumstances. No difficulty has arisen from the want of such a definition, that I am aware of. Sometimes a court would hold that a quarter of a mile was near, and in other cases they might hold that two miles was near.
Mr. MULOCK. Or fifty miles.
Mr. MULOCK. Where will you draw the line?
Mr. TISDALE. The courts will always draw the line according to the circumstances, and give a reasonable construction to the word, as they do in other cases. But I think if we define the word in a railroad Act, we would create greater difficulties than now exist.
Mr. MULOCK. Suppose a railway was incorporated to build to or near a certain town which may be near a certain other town. It might be within five or ten miles of the other town, and the engineering difficulties might be precisely the same in both cases. There might be no such circumstances as the hon. gentleman suggests to enable the court to determine how the word "near" should be construed. I do not think it is right to incorporate a railway company, giving it the utmost freedom in the choice of a particular route, thus causing one municipality to compete with another, and perhaps obliging it, by force of circumstances, to give a large bonus to bring the line within its neighborhood. If the route is not defined by the Act of incorporation, you give the company practically a roving commission, enabling it not only to commit the abuse I speak of, but perhaps to affect existing rights. Therefore I am satisfied that it is in the public interest that we should not incorporate these companies at large. I would suggest this. Every railway company under the general Act, has power to build branches six miles in length, and I think the word "near" might be defined here to mean not more than six miles. In the North-West, where there is a vast prairie country, engineering difficulties would not arise to aid the court in determining the meaning of the word. Suppose a company were incorporated to build a road in the North West near to a certain town. In that vast country fifty miles are equivalent to not more than five or ten miles in the older Provinces. Surely a company should not have the power to choose a location as wide as fifty miles; but what would enable a court to determine whether it was exceeding its powers or not?
Mr. EDGAR. I think it is just as easy for a court to determine when one railway comes near another as it is when a railway comes near a point; and I think it is quite as necessary to define the meaning of the word "near" in the latter as in the former. Not a Session passes in which a number of Bills are not put through the Railway Committee saying that the railway shall commence at or near a town or city or a certain point. This certainly leaves a great deal of doubt as to the distance intended, and I think that both for the general purposes of a public railway and for the legal effect of such a provision, some definition of distance, say four, five or six miles, should be covered by the words "at or near." I would suggest to add to this clause as it stands, "and near to a point or municipality when some part of it is within five or six miles thereof."
Mr. THOMPSON. I do not think it is quite so easy to define the word "near," in relation to the construction of a railway, as it is in relation to its operation. The definition would have to be of an entirely different character. When we are defining the word "near" in this sub-section, we are dealing with the interchange of traffic and matters of that kind, in relation to which proximity must be pretty close, but when we come to deal with the word "near" in relation to the termini of a railway, as the hon. member for York mentioned, a very much larger limit must be given. Then, take a charter in which it is provided that a railway shall be built from a point beginning at or near a certain town. There would also be a good deal of practical difficulty in defining that word, because we would be giving a material limitation to a large number of charters which Parliament has already passed.
Mr. MULOCK. It would not be retroactive.
Mr. THOMPSON. In relation to those railways which have not been commenced, it probably would. The limitation of six miles in some cases would hardly do. Some of the statutes, for instance, are for lines not six miles in length, and it would defeat the limitation in the charter altogether if we were to apply so lax a limit to such lines. The whole thing depends on the kind of country through which a line passes and the kind of termini it has. The hon. gentleman's suggestion, however, deals with a separate subject, which we can consider later, if he thinks the matter is of sufficient importance.
On sub-section r, Mr. THOMPSON. In this section I do not think there is any change in the law; it is only a little more full.
Mr. WELDON (St. John). I would suggest to add the words "or other erection" after "railway bridge."
Mr. THOMPSON. I will add those words.
Mr. BARRON. I would like to ask the hon. gentleman if it would not be well to define the meaning of the word "railway," as including the lessees of a railway. I have found in my professional practice that the Grand Trunk Railway, as lessee of the Midland Railway, have escaped all liabili[...]


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Isabelle Carré-Hudson.

Personnes participantes: